[18 April 2010]
Baltimore, Maryland-born Elaine Lachica has got a voice to cry for! The Peabody Conservatory trained soprano bends, undulates, quivers, and extends notes and syllables across the 14 songs of her third long player I Think I Can See the Ocean. Her voice, both as a single instrument and as the main attraction, is as much a burden as it is a blessing. It challenges and obscures to the same extent that it soothes and transcends. Breathy at times, and somewhat reminiscent of the supremely talented Cassandra Wilson, Ms. Lachica’s voice begins a seven-song stretch, from the rumbling opener “Behind My Mind” to the melancholy orchestral “Wild Wielding”, that is urgent, diverse, and impressive. Ms. Lachica soars through much of the material, including the fabulously dissonant and clap-happy “Tumbleweed” along with the bubbling bassline and jangling strums of “Jinx the Line”. The major complaint with the album is that the back half of the set isn’t quite as engaging as the front.
Aside from her distinctive operatic vocals, which might arguably be considered an acquired taste, Ms. Lachica is lyrically dynamic, but in a minimalist sort of way as she succinctly and concisely conveys equal doses of mystery and passion. She’s more concerned with the “in-between”, those places where we often get lost. She’s writing about the spaces that separate our various points of interest, sometimes leaving the details to the listener’s imagination. Fine compositions, diverse subject matter, and stellar musicians also help to bridge the comprehension gaps.